It’s been one year since Artifact Coffee launched “Origins: A Speaker Series”—an ongoing food forum that has explored topics ranging from Maryland produce and farm-to-table cheeses, to the rise of the local beer industry and the role that honeybees play in food production.
On Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m., the latest installment will introduce a new wave of experts who are coming together to tackle the topic of sustainable seafood in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The idea for the series, which was founded by Artifact owner Spike Gjerde and local sustainability champion Dana Slater, came to fruition after Slater noticed that the community had a lot of unanswered questions regarding the local food movement.
“The work that Spike does with local producers is so important, but communicating that information to diners is a difficult thing to do tableside,” says Slater, whose son Jake worked as a manager at Gjerde’s Woodberry Kitchen for several years. “The mission is to gather all of the behind-the-scenes producers in one room to start a larger conversation.”
This month’s intimate roundtable-style discussion will feature commentary by Lee Duncan Carrion of Coveside Crabs in Dundalk, Tony Conrad of Conrad’s Crab Market in Parkville, and Tj Tate, director of seafood sustainability for the National Aquarium.
“They’re going to talk a lot about crabs—I mean, it’s hard not to talk about crabs in Baltimore,” Slater says. “But there is also so much interest in farmed seafood and the health and future of that industry.”
Unlike other traditional panel discussions that save a Q&A portion for the end, Origins encourages audience participation throughout the entire hour-long experience.
As in previous months, the price of admission includes beer, wine, snacks, and a front row seat to the discussion, followed by a family-style meal with dishes that reflect the night’s theme. Although details about the menu have not yet been finalized, Slater says that diners can look forward to local perch and other seasonal seafood ingredients.
“The bottom line is all about education,” Slater says. “My hope is that people walk away with a better foundation of what they’re purchasing choices are in the market.”
If you can’t make it next week—or just want to catch up on previous installments before attending—Heritage Radio streams audio from all of the Origins panels here.